Electrical safety at work
Electricity can kill if you give it the chance.
This page is a quick reference for employers and self-employed people to meet their obligations under the legislation. It covers the main points for most types of workplace but it is not a complete list.
Information on extension cords and flexible leads is also included.
Even if you survive an electric shock, there can be serious side effects. These can include:
- eye damage
- partial loss of limb function
- neurological disorders such as confusion and memory loss
- injuries caused after the shock such as falling from a ladder or contact with moving machinery.
The Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 (PDF, 846 KB) sets out specific requirements about electrical equipment and installations at a workplace.
The regulation covers some of the minimum requirements and these include:
- protecting extension leads and flexible cables from damage
- using safety switches in certain situations
- inspecting, testing and tagging certain electrical equipment on a regular basis
- removing defective equipment
- removing safety switches if they are not working properly
- not using double adaptors and piggyback plugs to do certain work
- regularly testing and tagging extension cords.
Employers and self-employed people must also make sure electrical equipment is kept in a safe condition as part of their obligations under the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (PDF, 825 KB).
How does the regulation apply to you regarding extension cords and flexible leads?
All employers and self-employed people must locate and protect extension leads and flexible cables so they are not damaged by anything, including liquid. An example is using a cover to prevent crushing or other damage in pedestrian and vehicle areas.
The following two Electrical Safety Codes of Practice provide valuable information on electrical safety at work:
- Last updated
- 04 April 2017
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